I lost my hat (and I’m done with my thesis).

I am back, after a prolonged period of absence where I was just basically avoiding all forms of human contact apart from with my flatmate. It was getting dangerously addictive to stay away from all forms of electronic communications that I was so tempted to never emerge again, but I realised I have so much to account to my friends back home that I had to immediately banish that thought. Plus my mind was getting all tangled up from the lack of non-thesis-related writing that in the end I had to force myself to get up, get over my post-thesis laptop trauma and compose this post.

Just to get you up to speed with what has been happening, I had been bogged down with my thesis for the past 6 weeks or so. It was a long period of time to be concentrating on something if you ask me, but my supervisor clearly did not share the sentiment; after seeing my progress four weeks before the deadline, he freaked out a little (a lot) – according to him, I was very much behind the schedule with my writing and when he saw that I did not have a single trace of panic in my voice, he made me write this on my laptop screen, capital letters and all, to drill down the message.

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True enough, the weeks following that were nothing short of manic. I spent hours and hours in the library, trying to make up for lost time. I guess my friends were right all this time: I should have started writing much earlier.

I did not know how I did it in the end, but I managed to churn out a 6,000-word story plus a 6,000-word dissertation in 2.5 weeks. It was probably not my best piece of work, but hey my supervisor offered to be my reference for my job application in the end, so I guess it wasn’t too shabby after all.

Now that I’m back, I wish I could start by telling all of you about something cheerful – my library exploration, the trips to Stockholm, Oxford and Cambridge and possibly about all the chocolates that I consumed while writing my thesis. Alas, I have to get back to the surface with a rather grim matter, something that has been bothering me for the past few weeks. Just like everything else, I figured I would feel slightly better if I just rant to the whole world about it through my blog. So here goes.

I lost my hat.

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The very hat that I had previously flaunted to everyone and anyone polite enough to listen to a weird person talking incessantly about her hat. The very hat that had kept my head warm throughout the winter in London and Copenhagen.

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At this point, I find it pertinent to inform all of you my lovely readers about this one important fact: Just in case you haven’t noticed, I really like my hat.

Owing to my abnormally large head size, finding a hat that suits me had been a real challenge. Wearing a beanie has invoked much laughter from my sister and friends: my dear sister said I looked like a Hershey’s kiss. One of my friends had a much better PG-13 description: she said I looked like I was wearing a grey condom.

So imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon this beauty at the discount rack of an Accessorize outlet at Paddington. Not only did it look pretty, it miraculously fit my head (if I squeezed hard enough)! When I wore it, it felt a little like when Harry Potter held his wand for the first time at Ollivander’s – sparks were flying everywhere and I immediately knew that this particular piece of clothing had chosen me to be its owner.

Over the next few weeks, strangers would come up to me just to compliment how great I looked in it, and I knew with even more surety that I had found my match.

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And then winter was sort of over in London that wearing a woolen hat would not make sense anymore. Since then, it had been sitting on my bedside table for weeks until it was time for my Easter trip to Stockholm. The Scandinavian weather, bless them, was still colder in mid-April than during the height of London’s winter. Seeing this as an opportunity for me to flaunt my hat one last time for the year, I decided to bring it along with me – nothing wrong to look a little more fashionable in the stylish Swedish capital, right?

Little did I know that it would be the last time that my hat and I were to take a trip together. I still can’t remember when exactly I didn’t have it with me anymore – perhaps it was during that one trip to the loo, or perhaps when I was distracted by the shiny cosmetics at duty-free shops – all I knew was that I felt something was amiss at the boarding gate and by the time I realised what it was, I had already been ushered up the plane.

Having realised my hat was missing, I quickly reported the matter to the ground staff, who then very kindly noted down my description of a “lavender woolen hat with a bow at the side” and told me to go straight to the lost and found office at the terminal the moment I landed back in Gatwick from Stockholm. Throughout my trip, I still harboured hope that my dearest hat would be there waiting for me at the office so much so that I actually did not think too much of it while I was in Stockholm.

When I landed back in Gatwick three days later, I headed straight to the obscure location of the lost luggage office. But when the nice lady at the counter told me that she didn’t see a hat that matched my description, I started to have a sinking feeling in my stomach. Even after she very kindly took out a very massive bag where they stored all the hats that had been found at the airport and let me search in it, my hat was nowhere to be seen. Refusing to give up, I called the duty-free counter at the airport where I had stopped by a couple of days earlier, but no one seemed to recall seeing it.

And just like that, I realised that my hat is irrevocably gone. Someone must have picked it up somewhere, liked it very much and decided to keep it. Finders, keepers.

It took me days to get over it, losing the hat that had been very much with me until it wasn’t. I still feel like kicking myself sometimes for being so clumsy and losing something that I was really fond of. I wish I could say that I have learned my lesson and just shrug it off – it was just a hat after all – but every time I walk past Accesorize these days and see all their new summer collection, I feel a pang of sadness at the thought that I would not be able to get that exact same hat anywhere else anymore.

I guess some things are meant to come to your life unexpectedly and sweep you off your feet through the inexplicable connection that you have. You don’t even know that you have been waiting for it until just as you are about to appreciate how lucky you are, it slips out of your hand, just like that.

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Goodbye hat. It was sweet, but way too short.

 

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